Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; ph. (917) 273-7551; Instagram: @playagainreads
How many years have you been in business in NYC?
Since January 2010
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
I've taught preschool age children for 25 years, and a continual inspiration throughout my career has been that children are endlessly resourceful, imaginative, and curious. In a classroom full of colorful puzzles and baskets of manipulatives, I would watch children's eyes light up when I presented an empty cardboard box. I wanted to create a program that met in the home, highlighted repurposed and recycled materials, and offered young children the space and time to explore freely. I ran my idea by many skeptical people and there was one pivotal person (whose son I was teaching at the time) who said "that's a great idea" and she helped me organize my first brave and adventurous group!
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
My hope is that playAGAIN offers children, and adults, a chance to slow down. To listen, watch, connect, and learn. The materials I present are open-ended and allow for individual choice, which enhances cognitive development and invites creativity. I also try to introduce ways we can actively recycle and reuse. Because we meet in someone's home, there is a warmth and comfort to the setting, and because playAGAIN groups typically come to me fully formed, there's a sense of familiarity and intimacy among the participants.
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
I am so grateful for the positive word of mouth as that's what has grown and sustained my program.
How do you positively impact your clientele?
playAGAIN highlights the power of play. I would love to say that I encourage kids (and grown-ups) to use their imagination and to see the world as full of possibilities: a tissue box as a way to make music, a cup as a building block, a paper towel tube for peek-a-boo. Mostly, I hope I bring a sense of joy to those enrolled.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The absolute best part of my job is spending the day with young children. I love that I have the freedom to follow their lead, and I continually delight in all their "aha" moments. I also love that I share those moments with their accompanying grown-ups.
What is your favorite secret NYC spot?
Wave Hill. It's peaceful and idyllic and has gorgeous views of the Hudson River.
How do you benefit mamas?
I believe anyone who takes part in playAGAIN will learn to ask themselves "what can I do with what I have?" Whether the food is taking too long in a restaurant or the whole family is stuck in traffic, we have resources at our disposal to get through those tricky moments (and ultimately much more). The more a parent believes that, the more a child will as well, and the implications are limitless.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
At one point I was deciding when children would age out of playAGAIN. Kids can start at nine months and I was thinking they would end at two years. A mom (whose child had started at ten months and was two at the time) said she felt the journey with her son wasn't complete. I just loved her perspective and how she viewed their participation as a journey they were on together. Needless to say, kids now age out at two and a half years old, not two years.
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field:
Aliza Pressman and Bronwyn Charlton of Seedlings Group. Naomi Hudson-Knapp of the Evergreen Community School. Jane Racoosin of Beginnings Nursery School.
What is the best advice anyone's ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
Professionally, the most helpful advice was "don't do it for them." It's not easy to watch a child struggle with a puzzle piece or try to make a ball out of playdough. But when children persevere, mistakes and all, the fruits of their labor are so much sweeter and their belief in themselves so much stronger.
Personally, my husband said to me, when our kids were little, "worry about now now and later later." They have been very freeing and hugely helpful words to live by.
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
I think the best time-saving trick is knowing when you are freshest, most efficient and productive. I am useless at night so I will save things until the morning and get far more done at 6 am than I would have at 9 pm. The coffee has a tiny bit to do with it.